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At least two close races for the Minnesota Legislature -- Senate District 20 and House District 8B -- appear to fall within the half percent margin required to trigger an automatic recount.

Two legislative races appear headed for automatic recounts

After Rep. Mary Franson seemed to compare recipients of food stamps to animals, she called the ensuing backlash part of a “war on conservative women.” (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

Rep. Mary Franson (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

At least two close races for the Minnesota Legislature, one each in the House and Senate, appear to fall within the half percent margin required to trigger an automatic recount.

In the competitive race for Northfield’s Senate District 20, former DFL Sen. Kevin Dahle squeaked out a win over retired FBI agent and GOP candidate Michael Dudley on Tuesday. Dahle’s 50.04 percent of the vote was just 0.2 percent more than Dudley’s tally. That race has been competitive from the start, with more than $417,000 spent in the race by both sides as of Oct. 22.

The other, more surprising recount comes in House District 8B, where Republican freshman Rep. Mary Franson beat DFL opponent Bob Cunniff by a single vote. Franson’s district leans heavily GOP, but the lawmaker from Alexandria has had her fair share of controversies in her first term, including comments comparing food-stamp recipients to animals, which were captured on video and went viral online. Outside of a newspaper ad buy from the House caucus against Franson, and early polling spending on behalf of House Republicans, little money had been spent in the race as of late October.

Even if both races end up going to Republicans after a recount, Democrats would maintain control of both chambers.

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